Monday, April 7, 2014

Two Days in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Dinner River Cruise in Ho Chi Minh
It was a 13-day tour and I was just on the 7th day of my tour. From Yangon, Myanmar, I boarded a plane and landed in Ho Chi Minh City. From the Ho Chi Min International Airport, I took  a cab, went to my hotel and paid 200,000 VND for the ride. The taxi was not that expensive. Exchange rate is 100,000 VND equals 250 Philippine Peso. The ride to the hotel was good for 25 minutes.

A bit exhausted and without much sleep (I had a connecting flight from Yangon-Singapore / Singapore-Ho Chi Minh and the waiting time at the Changi Airport was 8 hours), I arrived at the M&M Hotel and immediately went to the front desk. I needed to take a respite.

The staff of the hotel was very accommodating and courteous. In fact, I even had a souvenir photo with one of their staff named "Thanh." I think she was the prettiest face I saw in Ho Chi Min City. She was one of the reasons (or probably, the best reason) why I enjoyed my stay in Ho Chi Minh.  

Honestly, I was not able to sleep. I just rested my back for an hour and decided to do a little bit of souvenir shopping. Having browsed google, I knew were to go. And the cheapest mode of transportation in Vietnam is by having a motorcycle ride (I learned later on that I was 15 minutes away from my destination). Fare using the TukTuk is between 20,000-30,000 VND. Later that evening, I decided to walk instead going back to the hotel.

While onboard my ride in the city, I noticed that Ho Chi Minh is the motorcycle capital in the world. I mean almost everybody was using motorcycle as a mode of their transportation. They were like ants running around the city!

 Finally, I reached my destination for that day - Le Lai Street. The site is between New World Hotel and Ben Tanh Market. It is the place where you can buy signature bags such as Northface, Kipiling, Samsonite and a whole lot more. But the idea that day was to buy as many Northface bags and accessories as possible. If you intend to buy watches, you can go to Binh Tay Market at Cho Lan. For jewelry, in Saigon Tax Center and for handbags and wallet, in Saigon Square or Binh Tay Market. You can also buy these things at the Ben Tanh Market near Le Lai Street. The price of Nortface usually starts from 150,000-200,000 VND. The first price mentioned by the saleslady is not the correct price and you can ask for a much lower price or a 30-50% discount.

And first day in Vietnam, I spent 2.4 Million VND just for Northface and Kipling bags! And it felt great and I loved it!

While you are in Ho Chi Minh, you will encounter small stalls where they sell cold and hot beverages for a cheap price. It's quite hot in Vietnam and you need to hydrate! Cold drinks is priced from 10,000 VND - 20,000 VND.

And in case you want to eat, eating rice is not that popular in Vietnam. Instead, they have "Pho Bo" or ramens in beef, chicken or pork. The price varies from 25,000 - 35,000 VND  and they usually serve the cold tea for free. Later that day, I went to a travel agency and booked my land trip to Siem Reap (462,000 VND), my Dinner River Cruise (38 USD) and Mekong Delta River Tour (it comes in two sets, Set A and Set B, I chose B [420,000 VND]).

Later that evening, I decided to have the River Dinner Cruise. I paid 38 USD for this.  And it was worth it. The cruise is beside the Riverside Hotel. You can ask the cab driver to take you there for 30,000 VND. During day time, they also have boat rentals which are chartered from 400,000 VND - 1,500,000 VND depending on the size of the boat per hour. There is an extra fee for the succeeding hours. On the other hand, the Dinner River Cruise starts around 7 pm and ends 9:30 pm.

You will be served a variety of dishes while you are onboard or you can even ask for seafood dishes. After the river cruise, I went back to the hotel and had my massage.

DAY 2 - Mekong Delta River Tour

The following morning, the travel agency picked me up from the hotel 7:45 am sharp. And we boarded the mini-bus and went to Mekong Delta River. After almost 2 hours, we reached the Mekong Rest Stop.  

Some of my co-passengers took their meal on this stop. The place is wonderful!

After 30 minutes, we drove-off to our destination and reached the port.

The boat can accommodate up to 30 passengers  but we were only less than 20 passengers that day.

There are so many tours available in Vietnam and they vary. You have to choose for your own. But the river cruise and boats are my favorite and I love to shoot pictures of them. And the agency provided an English speaking guide while you are onboard the boat.

First stop of the tour was the candy factory. The workers in the factory will show the tourists how they make coconut candy and a variety of candies. By the way, they have the snake attraction here where you can pose with the big snake.

Second stop was the Honey factory and they will serve you honey tea and light snacks.

It was already past 12 pm when we finished going to the two factories and were brought to our lunch stop. After lunch, you can go biking in the village or listen to the cultural show that is provided by the establishment.

I opted to have the biking and went around the village for one hour. Some of the tourists also opted to roam around and take pictures of the scenic spots.

Life in the village is simple. I missed Philippines when I was at the village, it reminded me of my country.

Last part of the tour was the small boat tour which lasted for 30 minutes. It is a cruise in the small river going back to the big river.

And after the small boat tour, we boarded the bus and went back to Ho Chi Minh. It took us almost 3 hours before we reached the city. But the fun and adventure did not stop there, I decided to go to the Night Market

I suggest you do your shopping at the night market. It is a lot lower and cheaper. By the way, the night market is also situated in Le Lai Street. You can choose from a variety of sizes and designs of Kipling and Northface bags.

Two days in Ho Chi Minh and I spent 5 Million VND and it was really worth it! I have to go back to Vietnam in 2015! And my mind is already made up! Hello back Vietnam!! =)


  1. I'm going to HCMC this October ad get much more excited with what I read.

  2. Super and very helpful information about the motorcycle well done.
    Vietnam by motorbike

  3. Interesting blog and I really like your work and must appreciate you work for the Urban Mobility Store good work.
    Urban Mobility Store

  4. I like crazy traffic in Vietnam =)) Why you don't visit Cu Chi tunnels? It is only 60km away from Ho Chi Minh City and can be reached within a day.

  5. Hi I really appreciate your all efforts which is specially for the mountainbike well done..